She died at the early age of 15. She was a little cute girl with a tender frame and the most lovely angelic face. She was just like any other next-door young girl. Yet, in 1999, Time magazine named her in the list of The Most Important People of the 20th Century. She was Anne Frank. Before I begin to tell you about her allow me to say that she has a place among my personal heroes as well. Since long I have been under the spell of her beautiful looks, steely bravery and not to mention her writing abilities! She would have been a great author had she lived a full life. But, alas, that was not to be.
Anne Frank was born on 12 June 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany. Her parents, Otto Frank and Edith Frank-Holländer, were Jews and they moved to Amsterdam in 1933 after Nazi party of Adolf Hitler came into power in Germany. By 1940 the German Nazi forces had occupied Netherlands and the Franks were trapped in Amsterdam. In 1942, when Nazi increased their persecution of the Jews —the family went into hiding in Otto Frank’s room in his office building.
The Franks family (Anne, her elder sister Margot and their parents) stayed in a secret annex inside the room (located behind a heavy bookshelf) for two years. It was in this hiding that Anne wrote her diary in which she chronicled her experiences and thoughts including about Nazi Germany. The diary also shows the transformation of Anne from being a young girl into a person who has seen the harsh realities of life.
Nazi soldiers were looking for Jews like sniffer dogs but Franks remained undiscovered until the family was betrayed by an unidentified person. On 4 August 1944 their hiding place was stormed by the German police and the family was arrested. For about one month they were kept in a Jew transit camp where they were punished with hard labor. On 3 September 1944, the family was sent to Auschwitz.
Well, this word Auschwitz sends shivers down my spine. I don’t know what the word means —but for Jews, this place in Poland, had really become synonymous with death. If a Jew was being sent to Auschwitz that used to mean certain death.
The Frank family was stuffed in Auschwitz concentration camp. But fortunately they were not gassed immediately. Anne’s mother died of starvation. On 28 October 1944 Anne and Margot were transferred to Bergen-Belsen camp where both of them died in early March 1945 due to typhus. Ironically, the British forces liberated the camp on 15 April 1945. Anne and Margot could have been saved had the British forces arrived just about a month earlier. Germans buried both the sisters in a mass grave whose location remains unknown till date.
Anne’s father, Otto Frank, survived the concentration camp and when he returned to their secret hiding place in Amsterdam —he found Anne’s diary safe from plundering by the German police. Otto published this diary in 1947. In 1952 the diary was translated into English from its original Dutch language. The English version was named The Diary of a Young Girl.
Anne’s writing style has won laurels from well-known authors. She had written the account of those two years fluidly while maintaining suspense like an experienced novelist. The original diary in which she wrote this account was presented to her on her 13th birthday and she wrote in it from 12 June 1942 until 1 August 1944. Anne addressed her writings to the diary itself. She named her diary as “Kitty” and usually referred to it as “Dear Kitty”.
I guess, you must have read The Diary of a Young Girl; but if you have not —it is a must read. For the literary merit as well as the impact that this diary has had; I believe that Anne Frank should have been considered for a Nobel Prize in literature —and why not?
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